So many guests over the years have asked me how our family acquired Coconut Court and how long we have owned the hotel so I thought it was about time that I wrote a ‘family tree’ of the Blades family and a little bit about how we got started in the tourism business. I hope that I have not left anything out. Enjoy reading…
Our dad, Charlie Blades was born and raised in Barbados. His family first arrived here from England way back in 1630. Fast forward....In the 1950s, Dad moved to Nassau, Bahamas to find work and while there he met a pretty lady from Hamilton Ontario, Canada named Lorraine. It was not long before the two fell in love and got married. Their eldest son, my brother James, was born in Nassau in 1964. Shortly after his birth, our parents decided to return to my Dad's homeland, Barbados. Dad had seen the tourism boom in Nassau and he wanted to "try his hand" in the budding tourism industry in Barbados. On returning home, Dad found work as a tour representative, welcoming visitors to the few hotels then operating in Barbados. One of those hotels was Coconut Court! More about that later....
With a lot of hard work and effort, Mum and Dad purchased an old Barbadian home on the beach, which they renovated into a sixteen-room guest house with a beach bar in St. Lawrence Gap. They named it "White Sands."Their guest house was a great success with lots of help from their dedicated team which consisted entirely of a Front Desk clerk (Vera Worrell), a talented bartender (George Broomes), a wonderful cook (Ermentha Weekes) and a friendly waitress (Claudine Waithe).
The family grew to include my brothers, Ted and Mark (the twins), my sister Beverly and me. My Dad continued moonlighting as a tour rep to bring in extra money. In his words; "with five kids to feed, failure was not an option!" One of the hotels that he visited regularly was a South Coast hotel named the Coconut Court. The hotel was then owned by an eccentric Englishman named Mr. Happy Apthorpe whose wealthy family owned Beecham frozen foods in the UK. Mr Apthorpe genuinely liked Dad, so when he was ready to retire and return to England due to ill health, he asked my Dad to buy the hotel from him. My parents sold White Sands and Dad scraped together the rest of the money needed with help from his elderly relatives and a few friends. In 1975 my parents Charlie and Lorraine Blades purchased Coconut Court Beach Hotel. To this day, my Dad fondly refers to Mr. Apthorpe as his 'godfather' and credits him for giving our family the opportunity of a lifetime. We have never looked back!
Many years have passed sicne then, and today the family business is very capabaly managed by my husband, Jason Lampkin who moved to Barbados back in the 1990's from Canterbury, UK. My brother Mark Blades and I work at the hotel and we are responsible for maintenance (Mark) and marketing (me). Mark's son, Nelson Blades works in the Housekeeping department and he can be seen around and about the hotel complex during the day. Nelson's sister Kia enjoys painting and some of her fun and colourful artwork (jellyfish and corals) are proudly displayed in many of our guest rooms. Other family members that are involved include our brother Ted Blades and his wife Vaida (Lithuania). They operate Ted's Tours (best island tour in Barbados!) and the activities/concierge desk. Additionally, our eldest brother James conducts very informative tours of the Garrison Historic Area (including the George Washington House) which is located just a few minutes from Coconut Court in the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Our family also employs over one hundred and twenty full time-time Barbadian and Caribbean workers who contribute greatly to the wonderful atmosphere and friendly service that our friends enjoy when they visit Coconut Court.
Sadly our dear Mum, Lorraine passed away in 2018 but our dad Charlie (A-class fisherman, guitar player and rumpunch maker) and his wife Jean (renowned local artist whose professional work is proudly displayed in many of our guest rooms ~ coconut trees and local scenes) still live on the island and they are very much a part of the Coconut Court mosaic. Our family now includes James and his wife Judy (Jack (Franco), Katie, and Ben~Poole UK), Ted and his wife Vaida (Lance, Lee and Scarlett), Mark and his wife Tristan (Kia and Nelson). Beverly Blades, Jason and Linda Lampkin (Laurence and Kimberly) and Alex and his wife Kadisha (Ember and Eli).
The family tradition of offering friendly and clean accomodation with an authentic local vibe that was started by our parents Charlie and Lorraine Blades so many years ago continues to this day at Coconut Court Beach Hotel.We look forward to giving the warmest of welcomes to our new guests and returning friends from all over the world, to enjoy our ‘labour of love” and our island in the sun, beautiful Barbados.
on behalf of the Blades Family & the Coconut Court Beach Hotel Team.